Quaint, but not isolated, is how Realtor Brad Kappel describes his hometown of Annapolis — and he’s made a career of selling it.
Real estate wasn’t Kappel’s first venture. Upon graduating from college, he found himself as the chef at his family’s restaurant. Next, he was the sales manager for local radio station WRNR. During that time, he purchased his own waterfront home and the agent with whom he worked suggested he try real estate.
Kappel took the advice, and after a decade in the business he decided to branch out on his own in early 2020. Today, he is executive vice president for TTR Sotheby’s International Realty and a leading waterfront Realtor in Maryland.
“I thought the real estate market was going to grind to a halt,” Kappel recalled of the early pandemic era.
Instead, since his clients are mostly second homeowners from the Washington, D.C., region, the rise of COVID-19 sent them out of the city and into vacation homes on the water in nearby Annapolis.
“I was kind of in the right place at the right time in my career,” Kappel said. “I’d just launched my solo practice and then the market became a sellers’ market, and I was right there to service the rising tide as the market went up.”
The coronavirus era ushered in a heightened level of interest in Annapolis as potential buyers wanted to stay within driving distance of their primary homes.
“They wanted somewhere they could go for 24 hours and go back to the city if they needed to. So our market has stayed extremely strong,” Kappel explained, adding that currently he’s seeing listings sell in 10 days to two weeks.
An avid boater himself, Kappel enjoys sharing his passion for the Chesapeake Bay.
“[It’s] a unique body of water because it’s big enough and broad enough that you can go out on adventures and you don’t feel like you ever really understand or learn the entire bay — there’s so many day trips,” Kappel said. “It’s the perfect boating lifestyle type town.”
Another reason why Kappel said the luxury waterfront home market in Annapolis has continued to hold strong beyond the pandemic buying panic is that, compared to other popular vacation home hotspots, Annapolis offers tremendous value.
“You can get a complete lifestyle and a nice home on a nice property for $2 [million] to $3 million versus the other markets that we compete with … you’d have to be in the $10-20 million range to get a similar property,” Kappel said.
Given the low inventory of waterfront homes in the area and steady demand, Kappel advises potential buyers to work with an agent who specializes in the type of listings they are looking to buy.
“You really want to work with an agent that represents and lists a lot of waterfront property because you have a better chance of getting access to something before the general public knows about it,” Kappel said. “We connect the dots, like a matchmaker, often off market with people.”